Hi! I'm Cadence

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia on February 12, 2018. This is my story.

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Day -16

Today was a tough but great day. Bill and I drove to St. Agatha to meet with a therapist who we worked with at a weekend retreat before we got married. The main focus of her treatments is IMAGO therapy, which looks at the wounds we carry with us from childhood, and how they affect our relationships today. It teaches structured dialogue formats and powerful communication techniques to work through those wounds, while deepening and strengthening your relationships and connections.

We both found it extremely helpful prior to getting married, and were hoping to get a refresh on those skills to help us communicate and navigate this difficult journey together, better.

Cancer isn’t easy. It destroys your body, and sometimes your relationships too. One of my biggest fears around cancer was whether my marriage could withstand the amount of pressure it would cause. It wasn’t that I doubted Bill, or our love for each other at all- rather it was a deep understanding that cancer changes a lot of things, and people. Sometimes those changes, can simply be harder to overcome or accept than we imagined, no matter how much love there is.

I have been holding on to so many feelings about the upcoming transplant that I was having trouble communicating and expressing to Bill. I also knew Bill had his own feelings about what was happening but hadn’t been able to talk to me about them yet. Considering we both cried like little bitch babies at our wedding, I know we both often have ALL the feelings. It felt strange that something so big was happening to us both but our feelings about it didn’t feel authentic or present. We were both so afraid of the potential for my death that it was just too big a topic for either of us to address in a meaningful way.

Today helped in a huge way. We practiced our dialogue format and used it to have guided, structured meaningful conversations about the feelings I have about my body and how it will change from the chemo, the transplant, the resulting menopause and potential GVHD. The relationship I have with my body has changed. I love it so deeply, but it is sick. I often spend my days in rooms with people who touch and stare at my body, and its parts, like I am not human. Like it doesn’t belong to me. That has been hard for me to come to terms with.

We talked about my fears for myself, and my fears for him If I died. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say out loud. I shared what I hope for him in his life if I was no longer here, and how I hope he finds happiness and love again and has the family he always hoped for. As painful as it was to talk about things that you hope will not be a reality, they were conversations I needed to have, so I could let go of those feelings for good. I needed to know that my wishes and fears were heard by someone who loved me so that I could then direct all of my energy and focus away from fear, and lean fully into knowing everything will be OK.

We both spent some time alone after our dialogues talking privately with a therapist to address anything we needed to work through. I worked with my therapist on creating guided meditations I could listen to in the hospital that would help relax me, and would kindly guide my body to accept the transplant and give me good health. It was a huge and moving day and I left feeling hundreds of pounds lighter. Like my heart was open, full and ready for what lay ahead.

It is always such a moving experience to see behind the outer layers of the person you love. To see their vulnerabilities, their fears and their full heart. When you can see why they hurt and how you can help them hurt less, and you can hear them, hold them, and to help them heal their wounds, it is profoundly gratifying for both parties. I am so grateful to my husband for always being open to exploring our feelings and our relationship together. When we explore our successes, our failures and struggles and own them for all that they are, we regain control. We harness the power to recommit ourselves to the same team and to choose to love unconditionally. 

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